San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2010 gubernatorial campaign announced Friday it will return a $25,000 contribution from a businessman who also is the son of Bay Area-based conservative radio talk personality Michael Savage.
"The Newsom for California campaign is returning the contribution of Russell G. Weiner," campaign director Eric Jaye said in an e-mailed statement. "We believe that the confusion caused by the conflicts between the views expressed by Mr. Weiner in his campaign for State Assembly and the views and values of Mayor Newsom are best addressed this way."
Rockstar energy drink founder and CEO Russell Weiner — son of Michael Weiner, a.k.a. Michael Savage — in 1998 sought the 6th State Assembly District seat as a Republican, touting among his bona fides the fact that he and his father had cofounded the conservative Paul Revere Society to protest illegal immigration. The Internal Revenue Service revoked the society's tax-exempt status in 2006, and the society's former Web site now redirects users to Savage's site.
Savage in October said Newsom is "in love again with the gay mafia" and "a whack-job as a mayor — 'Any-twosome' Newsom." And Rockstar lately has been the target of boycott efforts by people offended by Savage's on-air tirades.
Weiner last week had described himself and Newsom as "personal friends" who had attended the same high school. He also had noted Newsom's record as a businessman, saying
After Friday's announcement of his contribution's rejection, Weiner said there are no hard feelings.
"I still wish Gavin the best — always have, always will," he said. "I'm just going to give this money to charity instead, I'm going to give it to Project Open Hand in San Francisco. ... Let's turn a misunderstanding into a positive."
Michael Savage in 2006 had spoken in favor of — and through his business, donated $5,600 to — Democrat Jerry Brown's campaign for Attorney General. Brown is now among Newsom's rivals for the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination; the Secretary of State's database doesn't show that Savage has made any contributions in this election cycle.